There are many benefits to exercise.  It helps us lose weight, is good for our energy levels, our muscles and our bones.  It is often assumed that exercise also helps with brain health: makes us feel happy, improves our memory, and thinking skills. In this post, we outline the stats and studies that back up the benefits of exercise for brain health and show actual evidence of how exercise helps the brain.

1. Aging Brain-Exercise training increased hippocampal volume by 2%, effectively reversing age-related loss in volume by 1 to 2 y. These theoretically important findings indicate that aerobic exercise training is effective at reversing hippocampal volume loss in late aging adulthood, which is accompanied by improved memory function. Read Study

2. Multiple Sclerosis-Aerobic exercise represents a cost-effective, widely available, natural, and self-administered treatment with no adverse side effects that may be the first effective memory treatment for multiple sclerosis patients. Read Study

3. Memory-These results suggest that cardiovascular fitness is associated with the sparing of brain tissue in aging humans. Furthermore, these results suggest a strong biological basis for the role of aerobic fitness in maintaining and enhancing central nervous system health and cognitive functioning in older adults. Read Study

4. Depression-This review examines evidence that exercise is effective in improving depressive symptoms among patients with major depression. Read Study

5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-Results of this study point toward the promising effect of exercise for acute symptom reduction in patients with OCD. Read Study

6. Parkinson’s Disease-Aerobic Exercise more effective than medication in treating Parkinson’s Disease. Read Study

7. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-Findings suggest, regardless of attentional focus, aerobic exercise reduces PTSD symptoms. Read Study

8. Concussion Testing-Aerobic Exercise and the Treadmill Test to help athletes return to play. Read Study

9. Concussion Treatment-New research suggests that absolute rest beyond the first few days after concussion may be detrimental to concussion recovery. Why you need to exercise the first day after a concussion. Read Study

10. ADHD-Physical exercise provides a plethora of beneficial effects against stress, anxiety, depression, negative affect and behavior, poor impulse control, and compulsive behavior concomitant with improved executive functioning, working memory and positive affect, as well as improved conditions for relatives and care-givers. Read Study

11. Stress-regular moderate physical exercise/activity provides systemic beneficial effects, including improved physiological function, decreased incidence of disease and a higher quality of life. Read Study

12. Anxiety-The results confirm the acute effect of exercise i.e. the reductions in anxiety and depression after single sessions of exercise. The changes in anxiety, depression and mood states after exercise are explained most frequently by the endorphin and monoamine hypotheses. Exercise may also increase body temperature, blood circulation in the brain and impact on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and physiological reactivity to stress. Read Study

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